Product Photography: Should You Hire a Pro or Do It Yourself?
If you don’t have an online eCommerce site for your retail business you are practically living in the stone age. So let’s assume your website is ready to go and you are stocked up. But here comes the tricky part, You will need to load professional images of your products because to be perfectly honest no one is going to buy a product if you took a nasty photo of it. First of all, it looks cheap, unprofessional and to be perfectly honest we are a bunch of visual creatures, who like pretty things. So do you hire a pro-photographer or get cracking and DIY it?
So let’s look at 3 factors before setting up your studio
Be realistic with yourself. Do you have the time to take the photos and edit them? If this is your own business you are probably swamped with sales, marketing, and other admin stuff. Will you be able to keep your site up to date with new images regularly? If you think you can do it, great! If not, get the photographer in.
Do some calculations for yourself, get both a quote for the gear you need to get started and get a quote from a photographer. Don’t spend money on gear and give up after one photoshoot, you need to practice. Go to a shop where they specialize in photographic equipment to get sound advice.
Do you have any photography skills whatsoever? Luckily there are a bunch of tutorials on Youtube to help you. But this comes back to do you have the time to teach yourself the tricks of the trade? There are so many new gadgets to help you get great images but you will need to spend the time understanding some basic photography and editing skills.
So you have the time, you are ready to spend moola and level up!
The next step, what you will need?
These basic 5 items will help you get started.
DSLR or a phone with a great camera. As long as you use constant lights, you can pretty much use any camera.
Now this will depend on the size is of your products are:
- Light tents with LED panels. They come in various sizes. In most cases, a bigger light tent makes the most sense. You will have more room to play in and more depth of field.
- When shooting bigger products you will need more light, so opt for bigger LED lights. We choose LED lights because the light colour is consistent and white.
- If you’re working with fluorescent lights you will see colour variants ranging from, yellow, green, blue, or orange.
- Natural light. Sunlight is not consistent, the sun changes angles and colour throughout the day. This will also limit you to only shoot during the day.
This is dependent on the size of your products.
Lights tents come with their own backdrops for smaller products
When you are shooting bigger products you will need to get a photographic backdrop and backdrop stand.
This is to keep your camera steady and at the same level throughout the shoot so that the photos look consistent. Tripods do come in different sizes and you can purchase a cellphone bracket to mount your phone onto the tripod.
There are several editing programs to use. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom will be the go-to for professional photographers. Photoshop is not the most user-friendly program but will deliver the best results.
If you are using your phone a nifty free editing app to use is Snapseed. I love Snapseed!
So now you can make a more informed decision before setting up your studio. Remember when you commission a professional photographer, you are paying a knowledgeable, technical professional with all the gear and savvy to create magic with your products.